Cause Song of the Month:

Ex One Direction member Louis Tomlinson is hoping his new pop ballad, “Two of Us,” helps others, just like it provided a kind of therapy for him. Written in memory of his mother, who died of leukemia in 2016.  the 27-year-old  sings, “I will be the best of me, always keep you next to me. I'll be living one life for the two of us." In a press release, he says, “I don’t mean to be too soppy about it, but if ‘Two of Us’ can help just one other person who's going through the tough time that I went through, then that would make me really happy.” Buy it here. — Karen Bliss

The Killers' have released a new song called "Land of the Free" that directly confronts the Donald Trump vision of the United States, complete with references to the America's prison-industrial complex, gun violence and the controversial border wall with Mexico. Brandon Flowers, the lead singer for the Las Vegas-based band, said in a series of comments across social media that Trump's divisive policies and things like the Sandy Hook Massacre and the killings of Eric Garner and Trayvon Martin were what prompted the band to create "Land of the Free." Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

Carole Pope, the former lead singer of new wave act Rough Trade and Kevin Hearn, the keyboard player for Barenaked Ladies, are fed up with the negativity in the world and they're not going to take it anymore. The result of this righteous rage is "Resist It," a new song Hearn says "pushes back against the daily onslaught of bad news and scandal." When Pope growls lines like "Bring it on! I'll resist it!" this all-purpose anthem throws down a challenge that will strengthen the resolve of anyone who feels they should speak up, show up, and stand up for something better.  Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

Although immigrants coming to the United States these days are villainized and forced to endure unusual cruelties from authorities, legendary singer-songwriter Neil Diamond once had a more uplifted view of the immigration experience. Diamond's 1981 song "America" from The Jazz Singer soundtrack spoke to the hopes, potential and best outcomes for immigrants who only wanted to come to America to find freedom. "America" was a Top Ten hit when it came out nearly four decades ago. Right now seems like a good time to remind ourselves immigrants "only want to be free" and to "hang on to a dream." Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy
 

"No Tears Left To Cry," Ariana Grande's first new song in two years is all about "pickin' it up" and being positive. Grande can be forgiven if she needed time to reach this place. In May 2017 a suicide bomber in Manchester, England attacked Grande's fans as one of her concerts was letting out, resulting in 23 deaths and more than 500 injuries. In the aftermath, Grande performed one benefit concert then suspended her tour. After participating in the pro-gun control March For Our Lives last month, Grande released "No Tears Left To Cry" to showcase her new direction. Featuring lines like "I'm lovin', I'm livin', I'm pickin' it up" and "I just want you to come with me" the shows Grande moving on. Which could be a lesson for all of us. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

South African jazz trumpeter and anti-apartheid crusader Hugh Masekela, who passed away today (Jan. 23) from prostate cancer at age 78, recorded 1987's "Bring Him Back Home (Nelson Mandela)" during his 30-year exile from his racially segregated homeland.  Abroad, he had a No. 1 U.S. hit with "Grazing in the Grass;" performed on the Monterey Pop Festival; and recorded and toured with Paul Simon, among his successes. In 1990, when Mandela was finally released from prison after 27 years, Masekela returned home.  In his statement upon Masekela's death, South African President Jacob Zuma said, "He kept the torch of freedom alive globally fighting apartheid through his music and mobilising international support for the struggle for liberation and raising awareness of the evils of apartheid." Buy the song here. — Karen Bliss

 

When musical poet/The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie died Oct. 17 due to brain cancer, he left Canada with one last message — the country must reconcile with the way it has mistreated its indigenous peoples for the last 150 years so that it can be better in the next 150 years. Downie backed up these words in deed (he created The Downie Wenjack Fund), and in music, releasing the 2016 concept album Secret Path about Chanie Wenjack, a Anishinaabe boy who died from hunger and exposure after escaping a residential school. "The Stranger" is one of the singles from this album. Buy it here. — Aaron Brophy

American rap rock supergroup Prophets of Rage, which release its debut self-titled album Sept. 15, debuted the music video for “Radical Eyes” on Aug. 22, the day after the solar eclipse.  Said guitarist Tom Morello,  “On the heels of this historic solar event, let’s all aim to eclipse racism.” Featuring the lyric “They didn’t hear my cry, they said f**k my crisis,” bandmate/rap legend Chuck D also weighed in on the aggresive anti-racism approach: “The Western world has created biased structures and stereotypes. Opposing viewpoints and movements are seen as radical rather than diversity.” Listen here. — Daniel Teichman

Canadian rock trio The Tea Party, currently on tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their album Transmission, still talk about the inspiration behind one of the songs, “Release.” Frontman Jeff Martin wrote the lyric as an apology to women after watching a BBC story about women’s rights around the world. When it was released as a single, proceeds went to the White Ribbon campaign, a movement organized by men to end violence against women.  “I want the world to wake/I want to give you peace/I want to vindicate/You need to be released,” the songs begins. Buy it here. — Karen Bliss

 

 

Legendary folk-rock musician Bob Dylan was recently awarded the Nobel prize in literature "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition." While "The Times They Are a-Changin'" and a "A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall" may be better known protest songs, it's Dylan's "Masters Of War" from the 1963 album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan which might have the most timeless pro-peace application. A blunt, sometimes strident condemnation of the military-industrial complex, Dylan wrote the song about the Cold War arms race, but many of its tenets are still relevant today. Listen to the song here. — Aaron Brophy